Lately, interviewers are starting to ask the following questions:
Would you prefer working as an individual contributor or on a team?
Would you prefer working on a small or large team
From Stephanie, an accountant, she said that “it seemed to me that the interviewer wanted me to choose one or the other answer to these questions. Without knowing the exact reporting structure, how does one approach this question? What is the interviewer really looking for?”
Always put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer! With this question, they are looking for your ability to deal with ambiguity and how well you understand the current dynamics of any organization. Your challenge is to develop a meaningful way to say “both” or “either.”
Question #1: Would you prefer working as an individual contributor or on a team?
Trust what you know: organizations are not as hierarchical or traditionally structured as they used to be. They are fluid, made up of “virtual teams” and blurred boundaries.
A great answer would be, “My belief is that individual contributors are on a team in virtually any environment. Even though I might be working solely for one manager or on one project, I am still on a virtual team of experts from other departments.” If you can give a short example about the position they want to fill or a prior role you have had, do that.
Question #2: Would you prefer working on a small or large team?
This question can either be a “trap” or an opportunity. Which one do you want it to be? To make this and other similar either/or questions an opportunity to shine, pick a “theme” that is in common with both. It could be “teamwork,” “cross-group collaboration,” “great communication,” or one of many other choices.
A great answer would be, “Mr. Simpson, whether my team would be a large or small one, it will be important that I am a great communicator and team player. Teams can start small then grow to be big; I am comfortable in any sized team.” Be prepared to give an example of your teamwork in case they head into “situational” or “behavioral” interviewing by asking you for an example.
Study all of the most common interview questions with my Interview Guide here.
Script yourself and go in fully prepared. What are your interview challenges? Write me here!